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Cubs Mon Jan 31 2011

Cubs Crystal Ball: Foretelling 2011 From A to Z

cubs crystal ball.jpgBy Jeff Brodsky

Call me Sage. For with the following lines, I defeat the third of humanity's three main anxieties: fear of death, terror of the dark and perpetual worry about the Cubbies' World Series prospects. Consider yourself one of the fortunate who have access to this esoteric, unerring information. If you are feeling vigorous and competent, commence your path to enlightenment. From A to Z, all the content herein is absolute fact about the Chicago Cubs 2011 season.

April 1, 2011. The Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano starts his swing at a slider outside and in the dirt.

Before the first month of the season ends, the Cubs closer Carlos Mármol injures himself, throwing his right elbow into the left field bleachers. The elbow caroms off the Toyota sign, landing in an unmindful fan's libation. Lacking his arm's hinge, Mármol's odd yet impressive career ends. The severed joint's casket is paraded throughout Wrigleyville for Cubs Nation to view before its final interment at North Avenue Beach. A MySpace page and Twitter account for the elbow are suspiciously maintained by a fan with first initial S. and surname Bartman. Without delay, Lou Piniella is informed via certified mail that the cast-off appendage is not edible.

Carrying his Walkman and wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch flannel, former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace appears on WGN. "MySpace is so dated, like the late '90s," jeers Gracie. "The arm's intersection deserved more."

Despite Mr. Grace's criticism, David Goldman and Jared Schwartz, two entrepreneurial middle schoolers from Highland Park, mass-produce T-shirts featuring the jettisoned elbow. The youths' clothing becomes the latest sartorial statement in the hipster Wicker Park club scene. The recently Bar Mitzvahed whippersnappers release a statement through their firm's PR office: "With the elbow line, we have shown the American people that this country still possesses the capacity to design and manufacture innovative and relevant 21st-century products."

Due to the loss of his throwing elbow, Carlos Mármol becomes a local hero. He uses his celebrity to promote and successfully legalize cockfighting within Chicago's city limits. His pugilist cock, Lil' Jimmy, gets jealous after a knockout peck by Taylor Swift's rooster in the title bout, wrests the Ultimate Fighting Fowl championship belt from the victor's beak and announces that "Beyoncé has the best decorated coop stall, anyways." The barnyard community is torn asunder by an internecine row. Children throughout Chicagoland get build-your-own cock ring kits for Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Wicker Park Separation of Church and State Give Your Kid a Gift Day. U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner reacts by bawling about the American Dream.

Endless Cubs fans pass through Wrigley Field's turnstiles to watch Soriano, their $136 million outfielder. As Alfonso misjudges a routine pop fly, "Oh #@&%!" is heard coming from Cubs owner Tom Ricketts' bleacher seat. Former owner of the team and current chairman of the Tribune Company Sam Zell smirks as he counts his blessings.

First hairless manager in major-league history Mike Quade is paid what he calls "a profligate accumulation" by Gillette to become the face of a new line of men's aftershave. Mr. Quade leaves the Cubs at the All-Star Break and is seen on Miami's South Beach clad in black leather with a shorn poodle in tow. Close behind the former manager is starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano decked out in a cast-iron spiked dog collar and a diminutive satin thong woven with foliate detailing. Interviewed by the local press, Mike says, "This is obviously a great day."

In reaction to the Ocean Drive sighting, Mr. Zambrano's anger management counselor asserts, "At this juncture in Carlos' career, this is really the best thing for him."

"Get your front foot down! Think right-centerfield gap!" Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo yells to center fielder Marlon Byrd during batting practice. Fed up with Marlon's recalcitrance, Rudy cudgels him and joins the Basque separatist group ETA. It is understood that Mr. Jaramillo develops a love for violence, cruelty and tapas.

For his part, and rapprochement out of the question, Marlon goes on to found a small yet growing outfit of secular humanists that, as Mr. Byrd affirms, "is working for a more secular Middle East, and a much more secular America."

Honoring baseball's commitment to integrity and fairness, MLB commissioner Bud Selig allows the Cubs to forfeit all games against the vaunted Cincinnati Reds. The commissioner's selfless gesture of unqualified mercy reduces the Cubs' season to 144 games. "I felt it my moral obligation to preemptively stop any more human suffering. I no longer want blood on my hands," says Mr. Selig. Those home games are sold out within minutes, since Steve Goodman's hit "Go, Cubs, Go!" is played over the public address system for three hours during which Cubs fans gulp 16-ounce cans of Old Style to achieve a steady numbness. Contentment carries off the palm in the Windy City.

In the middle of a guided tour of Wrigley Field, the Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome's wife encounters Soriano, two Vietnamese fledglings and a Polish midget amputee en route to Chicago's heady Division and Rush Streets. Kosuke's wife is invited to accompany Mr. Soriano, et al., and immortalizes the evening's vicissitudes on video. Energized by the night's tumescence and samba music, Mrs. Fukudome submits the footage to Japanese Public Television, which immediately fashions it into a three-part documentary on race relations in America. The film receives wide acclaim in Japan.

Just before "Da Coach" Mike Ditka is to dazzle the Wrigley Field crowd with another bibulous performance of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," Cubs relief pitcher Kerry Wood puts in his earplugs and runs out of the ballpark never to be seen again. Reports surface that the reliever is currently acting as kingpin in the Desi mafia of Devon Ave., illegally importing frozen onion pakoras and swarthy nymphets to Chicagoland via the Great Lakes. He is wanted for circumvention of U.S. tariffs on foreign chickpea flour and minors.

The Chicago Tribune offers a different theory on Mr. Wood's activity and whereabouts: "... the right-hander is intolerant of the North Side's severe winter weather and has moved to the more temperate and balmy clime of Hyde Park, where he leads an outfit that insists on putting ketchup on hot dogs within city limits."[1] His precise location notwithstanding, Kerry is missed by Chicagoans of all religious beliefs and recidivistic leanings.

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's untimely death changes former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild's perspective on life. "Hawk once told me," says Mr. Rothschild, dislodging earwax from under his pinkie nail with his tongue, "that it took him a lifetime to realize reading box scores wasn't really reading at all." Inspired by his late cohort's admission, the ex-pitching coach begins literacy programs throughout Chicago's South Side and is the brains behind two hit promotional nights at U.S. Cellular Field: Fun with Phonics Fridays and Read the Back of your Plastic Miller Lite Bottle Tuesdays.

Long-winded Mike Quade is resolute: "This is, obviously, a great day."

Many sabermetricians are shocked by Cubs losing record, believing that "the team's VORP, BABIP, WHIP, WARP and FOURPLAY [sic] should have made them a winning ball club."

Never-say-die Stanley Cup winner Patrick Kane is spotted in the right field bleachers at a forfeited Cincinnati Reds game with several fortyish women, who are outfitted with Kane County Cougars jerseys. "Patrick," say the one-time nymphets, "gives a whole new meaning to the words Kane 'er [sic]" (cf. cane her). During the merriment, an uncompromising Mr. Kane slurps stoically from his dual-drinking, can-holding hat helmet, ignoring the moral enervation of 21st-century America.

Openly gay, Cubs television analyst Bob Brenly moves with his broadcast partner Len Casper to Massachusetts, a state where their marriage is recognized by law. Mr. Brenly brashly comments: "As soon as Len grew a handlebar 'stache like mine, he rapidly become irresistible to me. We now live a vertiginously paradisiacal existence, our domestic arrangement sublime." Mr. Casper is said to be so enamored that he speaks only in iambic pentameter.

Pitcher Ryan Dempster's unauthorized biography, "Give me the Damn Ball: Yarns of a Loose Redhead Canadian Émigré in the Middle Western United States," is published in August. It tells how Ryan, "having tramped the streets, labored at several Midwest factories and worked as a stunt dummy on Bob Rohrman's Honda commercials, finds a well-remunerated position as a Cubs starting pitcher." The book catapults to the top of the New York Times best-seller list.

Mr. Dempster, unfortunately, develops a severe twitch. Doctors say that Ryan's "weak constitution, impoverished lifestyle and overexposure to the Cubs' poor baseball fundamentals" have made him vulnerable. Discovering Dempster's health has been compromised, the spirit of beloved and missed Ron Santo utters, "Oh man!"

Quick-thinking general manager Jim Hendry hires Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg as 2012 manager. At his first press conference, "Ryno" announces, "In 2011 this team has displayed the quality, talent and temperament to make a menacing run at the 2012 World Series." Mr. Hendry, meanwhile, escapes with his pride to Mongolia, where he can practice nomadism freely. It is understood that the tall blonde enjoys his fermented mare's milk chilled as opposed to the more traditional method of drinking it tepid. Jim's distaste for the beverage warmed besmirches his good name in suburbs of Ulan Bator.

Retro Bob Brenly's character is traduced because of his love for Len Kasper. Mr. Brenly laments: "Yes, dear. You're right. I'm sorry."

Still unable to chew solid food (think: Chicago-style hot dog) after losing seven teeth during the Stanley Cup playoffs, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is seen wearing his skates and full hockey padding at Wrigley Field. He glares at Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramírez from the upper deck. Following the game, Duncan attacks Mr. Ramírez, paralyzing the Dominican slugger from the knees down. Asked why, Mr. Keith, after adjusting his hugs and kisses bracelet, says, "Jealousy. Aramis is a player who always sacrifices his body for the team. He shows constant hustle and grit." Relieved that he never has to make an effort at playing baseball or walking again, Mr. Ramírez retires to his native Dominican Republic with nubile Thai twins and three geishas.

Teeming with determination, Mike Quade reiterates to Chicagoland: "This is obviously a great day."

Underachieving 20-year-old Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro volunteers for the U.S. Army and serves out his tour of duty in the Badula Qulp area in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. Unable to find the right words in his native Spanish, Mr. Castro decides to wing it in English, telling the press, "My skills in the team sport of Buzkashi--a game played on horseback in which one must grab the carcass of a decapitated goat and, avoiding the opposing team's players, hurl it across a goal line--have earned me respect here." Although he sends his shalwar kameez out to be dry-cleaned, Starlin allegedly gives off an odor of passed melon and sour sweated leather. "Lack what I may in personal hygiene," says Mr. Castro, "I make up for it by caring for my quadrupeds with nearly the same gusto and meticulousness as I do my wives."

Venerable baseball soothsayer and White Sox television analyst Steve Stone is phoned by Chicago's sports radio station WSCR 670, The Score. On-air, Mr. Stone clarifies: "This is not good baseball. This is why we've gone over 100 years sans a Word Series Ring on the North Side and will be more years sans one." After his much-needed explanation, Steve is given the Emmy Award for "Best Sports Analyst." The honor is instantly rescinded for using "me" subjectively and "I" objectively six times during the broadcast of a Twins' rout at U.S Cellular Field.

"Why was the Emmy withdrawn?" asks Mike Quade. The promise of El Sin Pelo, nonetheless, endures: "This is, obviously, a great day."

X-rated members of the Sunsations, the University of Miami's dance team, swoon at the sight of hairless heartthrob Mike Quade in South Beach. Taking it all in, a now fully krausened Mr. Quade belches and then proclaims: "This is obviously a fucking great day!"

"Yer out!" barks the home plate umpire as Alfonso Soriano swings through strike three. Although the Cubs 2011 season ends in usual disappointment, Cub fans everywhere are greatly optimistic about their ball club's chances in 2012.

Zambrano is overwhelmed by grief in the realization that the Cubs have come up short once again. He immediately starts preparing for the 2012 season: ZZZZzz. ZZZZzz. ZZZZzz.

(Note: Please do not attempt to contact me for further necessary insights into the future as all with which I am able to bless humankind appears above. Monetary gifts, if deemed sufficiently prodigal, are accepted semi-occasionally. Send them to me via my haberdasher, Gery Chico. Otherwise, leave me to aestivate in the New Age and mystical neighborhood of Logan Square, my stunning and unmatched genius notwithstanding.)

[1] Samuel Clemens, "The Whereabouts of a Radical Right Wing Cubs Right-hander," Chicago Tribune, October 31, 2011, A1

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Michael Schumann / February 1, 2011 1:06 PM

some of these predictions are a bit obvious aren't they? I mean come on, the entrepreneurial middle schoolers from highland park, kane is rolling with a crew of fatties, Quade ending the season drunk in South Beach, we know all this. Sori on the low and away slider however, now that's BOLD.

Jeff Brodsky / February 1, 2011 3:13 PM

I hear ya, Mike. That WS victory is right around the corner. Thanks for the read and the comment.

bleedcubbieblue / February 3, 2011 9:07 AM

if Marmol had a prize fighting cock, wouldn't his name be Lil' Yimmy?

Jeff Brodsky / February 3, 2011 10:37 AM

I should have thought of that! Darn me!

Brent Shuman / February 11, 2011 12:35 PM

Bravo! The bizarre possibilities you have hypothesized would be far more entertaining than another season of mediocrity in the NL Central. However, I think you may have overestimated the players' and coaching staff's interest in political ideologies and international affairs. I just hope for your sake that Bob Brenly isn't planning on vacationing in Southern Spain any time soon! Despite your relative youth, ambidexterity and experience as a suburban basement boxer, I think you would have your hands full with that ex-skipper.

Jeff Brodsky / February 13, 2011 11:26 AM

Mr. Shuman you say, "hypothesized." Clear you head, young buck, for herein lies nothing but absolute epistemological fact about the Cubbies 2011 campaign. Bank on it! - J. Abraham B.

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